In spite of the cooler than average start to the fishing season brought about in large measure to the cooler than average weather, Ohio anglers are still catching trophy fish.
Perhaps one of the best barometers of that success is being measured by the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s Fish Ohio awards program.
Here, participants may enter a qualifying specimen from one of 20 different recognized categories. Among them are various popular targets such as sunfish, walleye, crappie, muskie and channel catfish.
Joining them are less popular fish species if for no other reason than fewer available waters in which the recognized species are found. Count the blue catfish, northern pike and the brown trout among this class of recognized Fish Ohio subjects.
Even so the latest look at the entries shows that all recognized species have current entries, some more than others, of course. The usual high-volume subjects like sunfish, walleye and crappie have already had seen good jumpstarts out of the gate.
Meanwhile the number of entries for blue catfish, brown trout and rock bass are still sluggish. No surprise there certainly.
What is good about the revamped on-line Fish Ohio program is that any angler can track the entry results of the recognized species though what is wrong still persists. A person still cannot enter an application for another angler while the entire online experience can be both baffling and intimidating.
For those who wish to wait until the Wildlife Division’s Fish Ohio software is tuned-up to allow multiple person entries, the agency says it should have everything up and running properly by the middle of June.
And handwritten Fish Ohio facsimile forms can be sent to: Scott Hales, Ohio Division of Wildlife, 2045 Morse Ave., Columbus, OH 43229-6693
Still, not being able to go online is so uncool since the updates provide really neat data on where trophy fish are being taken and how large are the subjects.
Take for instance, that the largest to-date common carp entry is a 45-inch bruiser caught from the Maumee River while Mosquito Creek Reservoir has not only yielded eight entries thus far but one of them likewise was 45 inches.
That is a huge pike even by fly-in Canadian lake standards.
Site inspectors will also see that the current to-date list shows 22 locations from which trophy steelhead have so far been taken. Even the Cuyahoga River scored an entry while the Grand River has given up 14 Fish Ohio steelhead and Conneaut Creek, just six trophy trout. And yet the largest to-date steelhead registered in the program is a 34 ½ entry; very impressive for sure.
Yet how the Ohio River supposedly game up a Fish Ohio steelhead is anyone’s guess. Just as how Arcola Creek supposedly yielded a blue catfish remains an even greater mystery.
And I suspect the entered northern pike caught from Piedmont Lake was actually a muskie.
Some anglers didn’t let the moss grow on the fishing poles, either. An Ohio River angler entered a sauger that he (or she) caught January 1st while a likely ice-fisherman working a farm pond entered a qualifying sunfish three days later on January 4.
I also read about catches from water bodies I never heard of before. Among them: Candlewood Lake and Lake Rupert.
Regardless and in any event, a virtual tour of what the Fish Ohio program has to offer is a fun way to pass a quiet weekend afternoon or a midweek evening.